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ThruNite TN12 Pro review: Tactical flashlight test
ThruNite TN12 Pro specifications
|Brand & Model||ThruNite TN12 Pro|
|LED||Luminus SFT40, 6500K|
|Beam intensity||36,000 cd|
|Review publication date||July 2022|
The TN12 Pro is a tactical, dual-switch, 18650 light with onboard charging from ThruNite. This particular light comes with the full package; battery, clip, lanyard, holster, etc., making it very accessible for non-enthusiasts to use without any other necessary purchases.
ThruNite previously offered a light called the ThruNite TN12 V4 which is a very similar style though it does not appear to share any components, has less power, and fewer included accessories. The TN12 Pro looks like a strong evolution in both design and specifications, so let’s take a look.
This light comes in a sturdy, brown paper box with ThruNite branding on five sides including a drawing of the light. Interestingly, one end of the box has a checkbox choice between cool white and neutral white, though I believe there is only one version of this light, and the SFT40 only goes as low as 5000K, which is still regularly considered cool.
Inside the box, you’ll find the TN12 Pro wrapped in a plastic bag and cozily sandwiched in a rectangular foam cutout. Removing that reveals the holster, lanyard, USB A to C charging cable, clip in an open plastic bag, and spare accessories in another zip-close bag.
The complete contents of the box include:
- ThuNite TN12 Pro
- 3400mAh 18650 battery, inside the light
- Belt holster
- Friction clip
- USB A to C cable
- Two spare o-rings
- Spare charging port cover
- Spare side switch membrane
- Instruction manual
I was mildly concerned that when I opened the light, the battery was not insulated, nor was the light locked out, though with the integrity of the box and foam packaging, I believe it would be a challenge to accidentally activate. The battery shipped at 3.4V.
Flashlight in use
The flashlight feels very solid in hand; nothing moves around when you shake it. All the different types of knurling and angles this light has work together to keep it in your hand without slipping, despite a smooth, semi-matte finish.
The head has four flat surfaces to prevent rolling and especially when you have the clip attached, it’s not going to be falling off of the table. The side switch is on one of the flat surfaces, and the charging port is on another, 90 degrees to the right of the switch. There is laser etched ThruNite branding below the switch and some regulatory information on the opposite side.
While clipped to my pocket, I found myself accidentally peeling open the charge port when I stuck my hand in. It does fit nicely in a front or back pocket. The clip isn’t quite deep carry, as most of the tail cap sticks out of your pocket, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing because the clip on this light is strong and it shouldn’t get pulled off easily. Thankfully, it ends on a smooth part of the body and not the shaper knurling so it hopefully won’t shred your pocket much. Speaking of the clip, it’s dual sided so you could slip it onto the brim of a baseball cap, though I feel it is kind of head-heavy when you do that.
Without the clip, however, I found it difficult to locate the side switch without looking much of the time due to the switch being close to flush with the rest of the light. The clip gives you a good physical frame of reference to help find the switch by feel.
Having dual switches gives you a variety of options when using this light; hold it overhand or in the cigar hold to use the tail switch for turbo-only, tactical-style, or hold it standard-style to use any of the other modes via the side switch. Since turbo can also be accessed by double clicking the side switch, the standard hold is the most versatile, but tactical-style gives you that instant turbo blast. The light does heat up quickly on turbo, so holding it tactical style will allow you to use turbo the longest, or momentary turbo, with a half press of the forward clicky rear search.
While the TN12 Pro has a tail switch, it does not extend past the posts on the tail, so it can tail stand easily. Except if you have the lanyard attached, that is. Unlike most lights, the tail posts only have one hole each so in order to attach the lanyard, it has to go around the outside of the post, and if it’s there, the lanyard will likely get in the way of tail standing. Not that you can’t tail stand at all, but it may be more of a hassle. On the other side of the light, the bezel is crenulated, so light will escape if you head stand.
The included lanyard is pretty standard. The only place to attach it is through the holes in the posts on the tail, as already discussed. It slips around your wrist and has a plastic bead on it to tighten the loop. There’s not much else to say about it.
If you prefer to carry the light outside your pocket, you can use the included belt holster. Note that the strap through which you thread your belt does not discontent on either side, so it will not directly connect to webbing strap systems. The light is very loose in the holster, even with the clip attached, but it is secure. The holster has a hook and loop closure and elastic sides, so it could easily fit larger lights. There is also a D ring on the top of the holster you can use to clip into a carabineer or the like.
Due to the large variety of combinations of holds, switches and modes, and carry options, this is a good general purpose light. Take it on a walk, stow it in your vehicle, leave it in a bag, you name it.
This light does not have a tripod mount.
Build Quality, and Warranty
As mentioned before, the TN12 Pro is very solid. The only place there’s even a little bit of play is in the side e-switch, but even that is minimal. The dual springs keep the battery snugly in place and do not allow it to move, let alone disconnect, upon sudden impact. ThruNite designed this light to use its own, included protected and perhaps double-wrapped battery. This battery measures 70.5mm, 5.5mm longer than a standard 18650, and is ever so thicker (0.3mm). A standard battery will not disconnect, but rattles in the tube.
The main part of the body tube has horizontal grooves cut through most of it, intersected with larger, spaced out vertical grooves. This knurling allows your fingers to grip the light nicely. The tail doesn’t have knurling exactly, but it does have several vertical grooves cut in its otherwise smooth face which help with grip when removing or replacing the tail cap.
On top, the head of the light is glued to the body, so disassembly is not easily possible. With the tail cap off, the battery slides in head first, as normal. When putting the tail cap back on, you will notice that the rear threads are unanodized, so mechanical lockout is not possible. The threads are smooth, but the cap is very tight with the included battery, so there is a feeling of grinding when loosening or tightening it if you don’t press down on it to relieve some of the pressure.
As with other dual switch lights, the side has an electronic switch, while the tail is a mechanical, forward clicky switch. The side switch depresses easily, produces a somewhat hollow clicking sound, and activates instantly on release, so when you’re using it to get to turbo, it will turn on or off with the first of the two clicks, then go to turbo with the second. The rear switch, being forward clicky, can be held down halfway for momentary turbo, or clicked to lock in that mode.
As mentioned before, the clip is very strong, gripping the one channel it can fit into on the body of the light very tightly. It has not come loose or popped off during my testing. While I haven’t moved it much, I have not seen any scratching on the body as a result of the clip yet.
The TN12 Pro only comes in smooth, black, semi-matte, anodized aluminum.
ThruNite’s standard warranty applies. Below is copied from the manual; see their Customer Service page for full details.
1. 2-years free replacement: We will offer free replacement within 2 years of
purchase if problems develop with normal use.
2. 30-days refund by Amazon: You may return most new, unopened items sold
and fulfilled by Amazon within 30 days of delivery for a full refund.
3. Lifetime limited maintenance: As to those exceed 2 years of the purchase
date, we will still provide with maintenance service, but the cost of parts will be
charged and freight should be paid by customers.
LED, Lens, Bezel, Beam, and Reflector
Within the TN12 Pro is a single Luminus SFT40 focused by a smooth reflector and covered by a glass lens with anti-glare coating. This produces a very tight hotspot with much dimmer spill that throws more than floods. If you look very closely at the hotspot, you will see a tiny, dim dot at the very center. You really have to be paying attention to be able to see it on a blank, white surface, and it does not detract from the beam overall. Up close, you’ll notice some tint shift in the corona around the main spill, but this ring is faint and not really obvious during distance use. On moonlight and low, the 6500K beam is distinctly greenish though as you increase the brightness, it becomes more neutral.
This is all housed within a long, smooth bezel with low crenulations at the top that appears to be glued to the head.
I measured the CCT, CRI, DUV, and PWM with an Opple Light Master Pro. Please note that these readings are approximate. From moonlight to turbo,
- CCT was observed as being between 6000K and 6700K
- CRI was between 67 and 69.
- DUV was between 0.0092 and 0.0022
- PWM exists on LMH, but not moonlight or turbo
Dimensions and size comparison
|ThruNite TN12 PRO dimensions||Millimeters||Inches|
|ThruNite TN12 PRO weight||Weight in grams||Weight in Oz.|
Group 1: Acebeam E70, Thrunite TN12 Pro, Convoy S2+
Driver & User Interface:
Power is delivered to the SFT40 through a direct FET driver. Being a dual-switch light, mode changes may seem more complex, but it’s not that difficult. The rear switch provides instant access to turbo, but cannot change into other modes, and when the rear switch is engaged, the side switch is disabled. Moonlight and the main grouping (low, medium, and high) are isolated from each other, but both can still go directly to turbo or strobe. The main grouping is memorized and you cannot disable mode memory.
From OFF, side switch:
- Press and hold: Moonlight
- Single click: Memorized LMH
- Double click: Turbo
- 3 clicks: Strobe
From moonlight, side switch:
- Press and hold: Lock out
- Single click: Off
- Double click: Turbo
- 3 clicks: Strobe
From LMH, side switch:
- Press and hold: Advance modes, LMH
- Single click: Off
- Double click: Turbo
- 3 clicks: Strobe
Tail switch, any mode except lock out:
- Half press: Momentary turbo, release for off
- Single click: Turbo
- The main group of low, medium, and high are the only modes memorized.
- To Moonlight: Press and hold side switch
- To Turbo: Double-click side switch or click tail switch
- To Strobe: Triple-click side switch
Low voltage warning:
- The side switch’s indicator LED begins flashing red at about 2.84V
- I do not believe the driver will shut the light off when the battery gets too low, but the included battery is protected, however, I did not test this.
- One unconfigurable strobe
- From off, hold for moonlight, then release and hold again for electronic lockout.
- For “double lockout,” when in electronic lockout, click the tail switch. That disables the side switch, so you cannot come out of lockout without clicking the tail switch again first.
- The main grouping, low, medium, and high, all have PWM, but moonlight and turbo do not. PWM is fast enough to not be visible by eye, but it may be visible by camera.
Additional info on the UI:
- The tail switch takes precedence over the side switch.
- The indicator light on the button will be illuminated when the light is on in any mode except moonlight. Per ThruNite’s specifications:
- Blue means the battery has more than 3.1V left
- Red is 2.9-3.1V
- Flashing red is 2.7-2.9V
- Below 2.7V, the indicator light turns off.
Batteries & Charging
The TN12 Pro includes a ThruNite branded, 3400mAh, protected, button-top 18650 battery. The protection circuitry makes the battery 70.5mm long, which is longer than the standard 65mm that an 18650 should be.
ThruNite included onboard charging with this light, in the form of USB-C. While they include a USB-A to USB-C cable for that purpose, I also tested USB-C to USB-C, and that worked as well with my laptop.
After doing one of my runtime tests, which left the battery at 2.84 volts, I plugged the light in to charge using the included USB-A to USB-C cable, and it took 2 hours and 57 minutes until the battery was full. While charging, the indicator light on the switch remains solid red until it has finished charging, at which point it turns blue.
ThruNite says the indicator light could possibly turn purple as well, and that purple indicates a charging problem, but I did not encounter that at all.
A 500mA capacity test with a Vapcell S4+ charger registered a 3211mA capacity for the included battery.
To obtain these numbers, I used a very rudimentary integrated shoebox and ceilingbounce on my Samsung Galaxy S10. Ceilingbounce has been calibrated to match the specs of the Baton 3 as provided by Olight and corroborated with other reviewers.
Since the ThruNite TN12 Pro uses a direct FET driver, the output is unregulated, and you can see that represented in the runtime graphs below. The TN12 Pro lasted longer than the ANSI specified runtime for high and turbo, but surprisingly not medium. However, I also measured higher than spec luminous output on medium, so that would explain it. The modes are decently spaced, though a larger jump between medium and high would differentiate those two better. In each mode tested, the light lasted longer than the ANSI specified runtime, with medium having the biggest improvement due to the lower drain at that level. Of all the modes, turbo had the biggest gap between its ANSI measured reading at 30 seconds and ThruNite’s specifications. Turbo at turn on was closer to the specifications, but still did not meet it. The gap isn’t large enough to be easily noticed, though.
Amps were measured with a Cen-Tech digital multimeter to the best of my ability. On turbo, I got a reading of 1.5A, which I know is wrong, as the spec sheet for the Luminus SFT40 indicates that it would require around 5A to produce the number of lumens I observed.
Lumen measurements (for each mode)
|Mode||Amps at start||Specs||Lumens @turn on||Lumens @30 sec||Lumens @10 minutes|
(Edit: Nov 2022: lumen table updated after applying new correction factor)
- 0.00 mA
ThruNite TN12 Battery life: Runtime graphs
The ThruNite TN12 Pro itself does not have low voltage protection, but the battery is said to be protected. However, the documentation does not mention when that is supposed to kick in, and in testing I got as low as 2.7V, which is pretty low, so I stopped my runtime tests when the indicator light started blinking instead of at shut off to avoid potential damage to the battery.
Please also note that I ended the medium runtime test after 11 hours and 40 minutes, as I had to leave and did not want to leave the light running while I was not at home. The voltage at that point was 2.84V but the indicator light was not yet blinking.
|Mode||Specified runtime||Measured runtime ANSI||Time till blinking red indicator|
|Moon||37 days||not measured||not measured|
|Low||46h||not measured||not measured|
ANSI FL1 standards: The runtime is measured until the light drops to 10% of its initial output (30 seconds after turning on). This does not mean that the flashlight is not usable anymore. The last column shows how long the light actually works till it shuts off. If there is a + symbol, it means that the test was stopped at that particular point, but the light was actually still running. This happens on certain occasions, with certain drivers, firmware, or batteries.
Throw numbers: Peak beam intensity
The numbers for candela were obtained with ceilingbounce on my Samsung Galaxy S10 at 15 feet.
Extra info: Peak beam distance according to ANSI FL1 standards: The calculated value of distance in meters at which the flashlight produces a light intensity of 0.25 lux. (0.25 lux is about the brightness of a full moon shining on an object).
These beamshots were taken with a Samsung Galaxy S22+ using the following settings in Pro mode:
- White balance 5000K
- ISO 200
- Speed 0.5
Disclaimer: This flashlight was sent to me for review at no cost by ThruNite. I have not been paid to review, nor have I been holding back on problems or defects.
- Comes with everything you need to get started, if you don’t already have batteries and chargers. Plenty of other included accessories, as well.
- Meets or comes close to brightness and runtime specs in my tests.
- Nice neutral tint on higher modes
- While carrying the light in my pocket, I ended up accidentally peeling back the rubber charging port cover when I’d stick my hand in.
- Green tint in moonlight
- Being built around a longer than standard battery may cause compatibility issues with other batteries
- Rear body threads are not anodized, so mechanical lockout is not possible.
Explanation on star ratings:
1: Avoid: my phone flashlight would be a better choice – 2: Poor: significant defect or issues; almost unusable – 3: Average: some defects or issues; but still usable 4: Good: recommended (minor issues) – 5: Great: highly recommended
5 stars: ★★★★★
Overall, I was impressed with the ThruNite TN12 Pro. The fact that it comes with everything necessary to get going is a definite plus, especially with all the different options for carrying it, and being built around the included battery helps create a solid feel without the battery rattle you sometimes get, even when shaking or striking the light against your hand. The dual switch configuration and the standard variety of modes (moon, LMH, turbo), which mostly met specs, allow you to use it the way you need to in order to perform the tasks you need to.
Overall, I give it five stars because it performed well, is well built, and had no issues which would interfere with use.